Temple volleyball awaits postseason fate

Temple has received automatic qualification to the National Invitational Volleyball Championship, but the fields for the NIVC and NCAA tournament won’t be officially announced until Sunday night.

Senior outside hitter Izzy Rapacz attempts an attack at the net during Temple's four-set win against South Florida on Nov. 19 at McGonigle Hall. | MIKE NGUYEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

No matter where they play in the postseason and which tournament they reach, the Owls will enter the postseason on a roll.

They’ve won three matches in a row and five of their last six after back-to-back wins against Connecticut on Wednesday and Friday.

Temple (19-9, 15-5 American Athletic Conference) moved into second place in The American on Friday by virtue of its five-set win against the Huskies on Friday and Southern Methodist’s loss to Tulsa. Southern Methodist (21-10, 15-5 The American) lost the head-to-head tiebreaker to the Owls in the standings because of its losses to Temple on Oct. 22 and Nov. 9.

By virtue of placing second in The American, Temple can automatically qualify for the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. The tournament is back after its initial incarnation from 1989-95.

The 32-team field will be officially announced shortly after the NCAA tournament selection show on Sunday night. The first round will be from Tuesday through Thursday, and the championship will be on Dec. 12.

The second tournament increased the likelihood Temple will play in its first postseason since 2002. Temple’s primary goal heading into the season was to make the NCAA tournament, but the team would be happy in either competition, senior middle blocker Janine Simmons told The Temple News in September.

As of the most recent Ratings Percentage Index rankings released on Sunday, Temple is No. 73. The NCAA tournament has a 64-team field. Thirty-two of those teams receive automatic bids.

Wichita State (28-3, 20-0 The American), ranked No. 20 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll and No. 9 in the RPI, will receive an automatic bid for placing first in its first year in The American. The other 32 NCAA tournament participants will be selected by a committee.

The Owls closed the regular season with a season-high 97 digs on Friday against Connecticut, but they also hit 16.9 percent, which is their third-lowest mark of the season. They won their fifth five-set match of the season on Friday.

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